I talk about a whole lotta shit. I talk about health. I talk about science. I talk about ancient forgotten history, futuristic utopian economic systems, technology, yoga, 'energy', and all sorts of other crazy-ass stuff that many of you probably find odd. You know what though? I've had this damn blog going for a year now, and somehow I've neglected to take the time to talk about the most amazing thing to ever happen to me. Please, allow me to introduce you to my Rock, my All, my Angle; my Wife.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP. THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG."Behold the first words that I ever spoke to my wife. Quite the ladies man, wasn't I? Looking back, I ask myself constantly how I ever managed to make this girl fall in love with me. It's been an amazing journey, but in order to fully communicate the brevity of the story we need to take it back; back to January 2006, to be exact.
I was lucky enough to find myself a pretty killer group of friends in high school. In fact, I see most of them on a regular basis to this very day; a few others come around for the holidays and we catch up. Back in high school, much like your own group of friends I'm sure, we were pretty much inseparable. We did everything together. We drank, we smoked, we skipped class to drink and smoke; you know, normal high-school shenanigans. Well, one day during mid-terms of our junior year, this all changed. Many of my friends all went out for breakfast together after one of their more stressful tests. I wasn't able to go with them, because my test started right as theirs was ending. Little did I know what was transpiring while I whittled away at my exam.
AJ, a friend that I grew up all through elementary school with, suggested that they be picked up by his friend Danielle and her mom, who were friends from his church. They were going to get breakfast to celebrate the end of mid-terms, and had invited AJ and his friends along. Obviously all my single-ass buddies were down to go eat breakfast with a hot girl, so sure enough they had AJ tell Danielle to come get them. At breakfast that morning something magical happened: All my friends fell in love with Danielle Santillo. She was funny. She was pretty. She was down to smoke and party. She was perfection to a high-school boy.
I heard about this girl later that day when I got out of my exam, and kicked myself in the ass for (once again) opting for the stupid 'honors' class that had a different mid-term time slot from everyone else (whole lotta good it did me; I still had to take the damn class again in college). They told me all these funny stories about what happened at breakfast earlier, and said that we definitely had to chill with her again sometime soon. I can't quite remember if it was that same night, or perhaps a few days later, but we did. I had recently turned seventeen in December, and could therefore drive after 9:00 pm (a local law). Combine this with the fact that at the time I had a 5-person sedan (uncomfortably seated 7), and boom; I'm driving to get this random Danielle girl from Henrietta with a car full of my friends.
I was not very thrilled about this little endeavor. Before we ever got in the car to leave I had already heard individually from two of my buddies that they were both "into this girl". We all know what that means. It means bravado. It means tiny little subconscious battles of who can be more obnoxious, crazy, funny, and loud. I love laughing at what my group of friends and I were back then. The entire ride to go and pick her I was blasting "The Autumn Effect"; the latest CD from 10 Years, which was a popular alternative rock band of the day. I loved this band very much at the time; I felt they brought much more to music than they were given credit for.
Right as we were pulling into her parent's driveway, my favorite song, Wasteland, began to play. She was walking down her driveway coming to the car, and everyone was adjusting the seating arrangements to accommodate her. I really wasn't paying attention to anything. I was just trying to listen to my song; as any of my friends can tell you I zone out pretty bad sometimes. There was a particular part in the song that I was really looking forward to, but all I remember thinking was shit they're gonna ruin it. Now, keep in mind, clearly I was being the rude one; not them. I kept my stereo's volume pretty high even after she got in the car, and they were all just trying to talk and shoot the shit over the volume of my asshole-ness. In my mind I really just wanted this one part of the song to be heard clearly, so...
Behold the first words that I ever spoke to my wife.
Later on Danielle informed me that she was pretty nervous about walking out and getting in the car with us in the first place, and that my kind tidings definitely didn't help the matter one bit.
Needless to say, we became the best of friends anyway.
Up until this point my group of friends was barren of all estrogen, but after this fateful night Danielle began to find her way out to Spencerport quite often. My friend Tom and her had begun dating, so it was quite normal for the two of them to be spotted driving around in his red truck. She became such a normal addition to our group of friends that we even went out of our way to give her a designated seat within the 'chill-room' that we had built in my parents basement (the seat was marked by a stolen restroom sign reading "Females Only"). She was the first-ever regular female attendee of The Chill Room, and had been lovingly adopted by the Dudemangroup with open arms.
Conveniently, coincidentally, and synchronistically enough, Danielle's family moved to Spencerport in time for her to attend our high school for senior year. This was pretty clutch, because having her out in Henrietta was difficult to manage as teenagers with limited incomes. On the first day of school we all met up around her locker and a showed her as much of the school as we could before class; at one point we all formed a barrier between her and the other kids as we walked. We cared about Danielle a lot man; my buddy Tom had recently been stationed in Germany and asked us to look out for her and we took it rather seriously.
Danielle tells me that we made it pretty hard for her to make friends at first. oops.
Then we all left. Well, pretty much.
By June of 2007 much had changed. Our senior year was filled with so much shit that it could fill a book on its' own (in fact it does; it filled a journal). After graduation some of us joined the military. Some of us went away for school. Some of us stayed in town for school and a side-job. We just kinda dispersed man. Life happened.
Due to a glitch in the matrix, my scheduled slot for Airborne School wasn't until over a month after I graduated from Basic Training. This resulted in me being sent home for an extended Leave during December of 2007. When I got home, I was smacked in the face with just how much the home I left had changed. I had no obligations, and I had about $5,000 saved up from Basic. I was still very much an eighteen year old boy, and this was a pretty cool situation to find myself in. Unfortunately, however, most of my friends were not really available during this time because they were all wrapped up in building their own futures. There was someone around that I was able to see pretty often though, and that was Danielle. She was working at Solutions Studio and Spa, and was maintaing a long distance relationship with Tom, who was still in Germany. My friends Rich, Paul, Erica, Nicole, and Gino were all still in town as well, and we all found ourselves over at my brother's apartment in Brockport pretty often; just hanging out.
Right around Christmas time something changed. It was becoming apparent to many of us that Danielle and Tom's relationship wasn't exactly the best of things. The stresses of being so far apart for so long were taking their tole, and often times myself and others were around to witness the hurtful effects. This was all eclipsed by the homecoming of my friend Ron, who had arrived in town from Basic Training just in time for the Christmas festivities (Christmas Time was very important to the Dudemangroup). From there it was pretty much a big party until he, then I, had to return to the Army.
When I left home that second time it was a much more depressing experience than the first, and I couldn't understand why until I realized that I couldn't stop thinking about Danielle. It was a hell of an epiphany to come to, seeing as how I had really only looked at her as either a best friend or a sister ever since I had met her, but I just couldn't help it dude. The whole first week of Airborne School I called her at every opportunity; mostly just in the evenings before Lights Out. She was my connection to everyone back home; her phone was the one that got put on speakerphone so that everyone could say Hey. Without my best friend Danielle being there to help me through that first week I would have gone bat-shit crazy.
I decided to do something impulsive. The first weekend of my Airborne School class was a 3-day weekend because of Martin Luther King Day, so I went against all Airborne School rules and bought plane tickets for home that would still get me back in time for the accountability formation on Monday night. Technically, I was AWOL, but not a soul noticed I was gone.
That's when it happened.
When I got home there was an immediate party; my parents never even knew I was home. Everyone was at my brother's apartment when my plane landed, and I had my friends pick me up to take me back over there. It was in my brother's apartment that night that I realized I loved Danielle. Nothing crazy happened. I promise all of you in the most blatant words I can muster: Danielle never once cheated on Tom, and I never once made any advancement to persuade her to do so. I simply began to look at her with envy in my eyes, and I couldn't help it if I tried. Everyone knew it, I have a tendency of radiating my emotions a bit, but nothing like that was said at the time in any fashion. It was just a fun night of drinking and smoking with all my friends (with a tiny bit of unacknowledged romantic tension in the air). Although it was really only about 13 days since I has last seen them, it felt as if it had been an eternity. Danielle had to work the next day, so at some point we dropped her back off at her house before heading home ourselves.
Durring her lunch break the next day, I happened (lol) to be at the mall across the street. I picked her up and we went to Panera Bread; a place I had absolutely no idea about at the time (I really thought it was just a buncha bread I guess). I bought her lunch, and dropped her back off at work.
That was the best experience of my life; up to that point, anyway.
That night Rich, Paul, Danielle and I all found ourselves driving to a random party at a friend of Paul's house. They were goin pretty hard, and I definitely was having a good time, but I didn't really wanna be there; neither did Danielle from what I could tell. By the time we left we were all still pretty wired, so we just kinda went and parked someplace (likely my parents driveway) and chilled out to music all night. We talked and talked, then Rich and Paul fell asleep, and we talked and talked some more. We eventually woke them up so that we could go and get something to eat and we ended up parked outside Barnes n Nobel. At this point the sun had been up for a while, and Danielle and I were waiting for the bookstore to open so we could go and get some coffee (Paul and Rich passed out again).
The coffee I got kicked ass; Danielle's sucked. I didn't mind sharing mine with her one bit. We aimlessly walked around Barnes n Nobel with that one coffee for hours; randomly picking up books and laughing at each other's flirty remarks. I remember at one point there was a book that I really wasn't all that interested in, but I grabbed for it anyway. Why? Because Danielle was in the way of course, and I savored the opportunity to place myself closer to her. Never before had I felt so comfortable around a girl. Eventually we realized how much time had passed in there, and laughed knowing Paul and Rich were probably still assed-out in the car. I didn't want to leave that bookstore. Not one bit.
But we did, and it's only gotten better since.
After that AWOL weekend that I spent home, Danielle broke up with Tom. Her and I continued to speak on the phone damn near every day; talking to her was my form of therapy from Airborne School, to the Ranger Indoctrination Program, all the way to me being stationed in Savannah, GA at 1st Ranger Battalion. I finally found myself with my own baracs room, and fairly regular working hours compared to the training environment I had been in for so many months. I longed for the next extended holiday weekend so that I could fly back home on pass, which eventually came in March of 2008. Up until this point, Danielle and I had never so much as locked lips together.
That changed pretty freakin quick once I got off the plane here in Rochester, though. Our friend Erica had brought her to the airport to pick me up, and I'm not even sure if I even said "hi" to her. I just remember seeing Danielle running at me in the parking lot looking all hot and the rest is a blur of making out in the back of Erica's mom's SUV. Erica drove us to my parent's house so that I could check in and visit; they hadn't seen me since I left after Christmas, after all. This trip home was the first time I was ever able to waltz around with Danielle's hand in mine, and I was hooked.
A few days after Christmas that year, I got down and proposed to Danielle Santillo. Fun fact: I cried and she didn't. She just smiled, laughed, said yes and thumbed the unmanliness from my eyes. I had saved up for a very long time for that ring you see on her finger; basically my entire first deployment went towards paying for it. It was supposed to be a Christmas proposal because of this; I didn't exactly have the money to give her any more presents than that at the time. But, I pussed out on Christmas. Then I pussed out again the next day. Poor girl musta thought I didn't get her anything.
But I think she knew. You see, from the moment I bought that ring in Savannah it never left my pocket. Ever. I actually found myself clasping it in my pocket in my everyday activities just to make sure it was still there. Obviously having a jewelry box in your pocket creates an odd bulge that is hard to ignore when cuddling and kissing are going on. She asked what it was a couple times, but left it alone when I evaded her questions. Eventually I mustered whatever it was that I needed to ask this girl to marry me. A year later, on December 18th 2009, we were married; I felt reborn.
I love you, Danielle
There is nobody on this Earth who is capable of bringing me the happiness that you do; there is absolutely nobody who can put up with all my weird-ass ideas and tendencies as well as you do. I have never trusted, and never felt such trust from anyone but you. When I look in your eyes I am brought back to the moment I stared at you from over that bookshelf in Barnes n Nobel, and am reminded ever more how much I adore you. You have given me my life, and everything in it. Had you not chosen to walk out to my car that day, had you not decided to go to Panera with me, had you decided to try and stick-it-out with Tom, then I would not have the amazing life that I have today. I owe you so much more than my life.
Some people look up to me. Some people come to me for advice and for help. Danielle I look up to you in this exact same fashion. I've never before met a person as powerful as you. You have manifested a perfect life for yourself, and you have done so effortlessly. I take notes on how good you are at shaping your life, and unfortunately I don't think I make this known often enough. I have a comfortable and amazing life today, but this is only because you have deemed me the blessed one to receive the gifts of your love.
Thank you so much for granting me the joy of being your companion in this life. I am very much looking forward to spending this next chunk of eternity with you, my love.
Cheers to us, darling. Cheers to us.